Each week, I get together with my friends Rob and Vance. We all share the same fascination with technology and science. What is even more fascinating is how it affects my productivity.

If you’re reading my blog, chances are you are a developer and you probably have a lot of friends who are also developers. And every week there is a new framework introduced to the world.

Every week you’re a step further behind the curve. Another step away from being “cool” and impressing those friends of yours. In order to impress them, you must always be fiddling with new technologies whether you’re really accomplishing anything or not.

This works for anything. If most of your friends are into cars, then you need to be learning how to crank out more horsepower than your friends’ cars. If your friends play video games, then you need to spend your time learning obscure facts about video games.

This is where things get interesting though. Rob and Vance come from different backgrounds. Rob is interested in bioinformatics and robotics. Vance is a communications guy and has worked at the World Bank.

The tides changed when I started hanging out with these guys each week. Being “cool and productive” no longer meant speeding up my blog to respond 100ms faster than my friends’. It meant that I need to be solving real problems with software.

When we get together, we talk about things at a higher level. We want to make an impact on people’s lives. That is incredibly hard to do if the only thing you ever think about is the implementation details of a project. Of course those are important, but they can also always be changed.


I can’t half-finish a project and impress Rob and Vance. I can’t half-fix a customer’s website and expect them to be happy with it. It’s exactly the same thing as half-curing cancer. People might be intrigued for a few minutes, but that’s it.

You should deliberately step outside your bubble to improve yourself. I’m not saying you should ditch your friends in your career field, but you should certainly value ones from different backgrounds. Friends can be the people who catapult you ahead in life or hold you back and it’s your decision who those people are.

So today, I want you to dig through your list of projects and find the ones you never finished. Each and every one of those started with the idea of an awesome solution to a problem. The reason you never finished them was because you got too caught up in the details.

What problem were you solving? “Oh yeah, I was going to build this awesome solution to solve ____!” Now write that down. Don’t forget it. And finish that project.

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